2022 has been another year of wildly rearranging my approach to photography. I’ve gone all-in Leica and back. I’ve been all-in with film, and back. And so on. I do this because I’m more of a camera nerd than an artist.
Let’s start with the film cameras. First, I sold the big Linhof Master Technika. It was a beautiful kit, but I almost never used it. I still have an old Crown Graphic for when I get the urge to shoot 4×5.
I still have three Leica M film cameras: M3, M6, and MP. I tried and failed at selling the M6. Here they are on my workbench:
The M6 is for sale again. I will hate myself for selling it, but it’s dumb to have something so nice (and valuable) just sitting on a shelf most of the time.
I was also able to revive the Ricoh GR1, which I’m very happy about.
So, what about digital, then? That’s still being tweaked, but right now I’m going with the new X-T5 and a few favorite lenses.
I ordered the X-T5 with the 16-80 “kit” lens. I don’t like zooms, and I don’t love f4 lenses, but it’s a nice all-arounder in a pinch and a cheap way to get it. I have the 23 f2, 35 f1.4, and 56 1.2 on the way.
I’ve stopped scanning film with a digital camera, so I shouldn’t miss the Lumix S5 and Macro, which I’ve traded for the Fuji lenses. I can change my mind pretty inexpensively with the Fuji 60mm macro any time.
I have come very close to buying another Leica M10-R, but I’m going to see how it feels to use the Fuji for digital.
I took the above photo while waiting for a friend to arrive at the restaurant and I love it.
It’s a film photo. It’s slightly misfocused. It’s boring. But still, I keep looking at it. I made an 8×10 darkroom print that I’ll probably mount and hang.
What is it about photos like this that I like so much? Honestly, I don’t know, but I expect that it’s all about what it represents to me. The photo in the restaurant, for example, reminds me of friends. And of my favorite restaurant. And my favorite “Ultimate” margarita. It may not be art, but it’s meaningful to me, and that’s become the most important part.
Sometimes I notice the Leica M10-R sitting forlornly on my desk and I’m reminded that I don’t deserve it. A camera like that should be used, and used a lot. Mine mostly sits around waiting for me to take another selfie or photo of my dog. That’s a lot of money tied up in what most people do (and often better) with their phones.
While I’ve been a little obsessed with the MP since getting it, my M6 is a special camera and deserves some attention. I put a roll of HP5 through it today. It really is a great camera. And that little Voigtlander 35mm Color-Skopar suprises me.
The usual suspects, namely, photos of my dog and self-portraits.
Had brunch at my parents’ house yesterday to celebrate Mother’s Day. It was nice. My mom has been suffering from pain in her leg for a few weeks, but the combination of new meds and time seems to have helped quite a lot. I took the Leica Q2 Monochrom and made a few snaps. Here are my favorites from the day.
The M10-R is an astonishingly good camera. World-beating build quality, timeless design, and a fantastic 40-megapixel sensor, all in a small, beautiful package.
Still available new in 2022 for an eye-watering $8,995 (I bought mine used), the M10-R is also a ridiculously expensive camera. Buying one is a big deal and a significant investment.
I am fortunate enough to also own Leica M film cameras, and being able to share lenses between those and the M10-R is very handy. And OMG those Leica lenses! The control layout and handling are the same as well. It’s like having both a digital and film platform for using 70 years of tiny, wonderful Leica lenses. I can carry a full film and digital arsenal with 2 bodies and lenses in a tiny bag.
So, why am I feeling twitchy?
I worry about having such expensive, relatively delicate equipment swinging about around my neck. It makes me nervous. It’s hard to relax and make photographs when I’m so worried about losing or breaking the camera I’m carrying.
Unlike film Ms, digital M cameras depreciate steadily in value. Not as quickly as other digital cameras, perhaps, but still, the trend is downward.
But mostly, I feel guilty having such a fine camera because I’ve barely used it. I’ve been shooting mostly film for the past month or so, leaving the M10-R idling in the bag. I can justify the expense for something I’m using all the time but to have the M10-R sitting in the bag “just in case” is hard to stomach.
Still, I love the camera and I’m keeping it. At least for now. I know me, and I know that the digital-film pendulum will swing back the other way soon enough, and when it does I’ll be glad I have the M10-R.